Councillor cleared

A BUSINESSMAN who escaped a prison sentence after slapping a teenager around the face has labelled Cambridgeshire police a joke. Fred Brown, 60, who is also a Littleport parish councillor and East Cambridgeshire District councillor, told Ely Magistrates

A BUSINESSMAN who escaped a prison sentence after slapping a teenager around the face has labelled Cambridgeshire police "a joke."

Fred Brown, 60, who is also a Littleport parish councillor and East Cambridgeshire District councillor, told Ely Magistrates Court on Thursday that he thought Luke Rainford, 15, was about to lash out at him when he slapped him across the face.

Mr Brown, who owns a laundrette in Granby Street, Littleport, confronted the teenager after he received a phone call from Lucy Goodfellow who was working in a neighbouring opticians. Ms Goodfellow told the court she thought the laundrette was being smashed up.

When Mr Brown arrived, the boy was kicking a washing machine. He told magistrates that he confronted the teenager and a skirmish developed in which the boy spat in his wife's face and called her a "fat cow".


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Ms Goodfellow called 999 twice, but was told there were no police cars in the area.

Mr Brown told the court: "If you call the police in Littleport on a Monday, they won't arrive until Wednesday."

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Mr Brown, who was recovering from treatment for skin cancer at the time and suffers from arthritis and heart problems, feared he wouldn't get up if was knocked down. He denied grabbing the boy around the throat and was found not guilty of assault by beating.

Magistrate Hamish Ross said: "In the absence of police help, which had been requested, Mr Brown felt a duty of care to the staff in the opticians and his wife. He acted in self-defence and used reasonable force."

Outside court on Thursday, Mr Brown said: "I couldn't believe it when I was charged. I felt sick when my finger prints and DNA were being taken.

Mr Brown, who owns a menswear shop and a bridal store in Littleport, has faced a history of problems with anti-social youths.

He said: "The fact that Cambridgeshire police has the face to call themselves a force is an absolute joke. There is a serious lack of police presence in Littleport and they need to wake up to the fact that there is a rife drug culture in the village. After the elections I will be putting this at the top of the council agenda."

A police spokesperson said: "Littleport has a dedicated neighbourhood policing team supported by reactive shift officers. These hold regular panel meetings to consult with residents. Should any resident have concerns regarding the policing of the area, or particular issues of crime or anti-social behavior, they are encouraged to discuss them with local officers.

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